When he stood before the world to deliver his first inaugural address four years ago, President Barack Obama proudly declared, "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers." Early in his presidency, he repeated various permutations of this phrase, always reserving the resonant final spot for the "non-believers."
During his first term, Obama also occasionally edited the Creator from the Declaration of Independence.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident," he said, for example, in a Sept. 15, 2010, speech, "that all men are created equal, endowed with certain inalienable rights: life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
Judging from his first-term rhetoric, Obama did not deem belief in God and deference to His authority essential elements in his own vision for America.
Yet, in the opening of his second inaugural address, Obama spoke the actual words of the Declaration, and then made them a recurring theme of his speech. "We hold these truths to be self-evident," he said, "that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
"While freedom is a gift from God," he said, "it must be secured by His people here on Earth."
Why did Obama do this? Is he now an apostate to the secularist cause?
The president provided a strong clue later in his speech, when he returned to the theme of men being created equal.
"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law," he said. "For if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well."
This statement was simultaneously an appeal for the gay-rights agenda -- which, for Obama, now expressly includes same-sex marriage -- and an apparent claim that God is on the side of this agenda.
In the past, Obama has gone so far as to deride St. Paul's Letter to the Romans precisely because it condemns homosexual behavior.
"All too often I have sat in church and heard a pastor use gay bashing as a cheap parlor trick -- 'It was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!' he will shout, usually when the sermon is not going so well," wrote Obama.